US4902886A - Noise reduction for photodiode arrays - Google Patents

Noise reduction for photodiode arrays Download PDF

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US4902886A
US4902886A US07/299,382 US29938289A US4902886A US 4902886 A US4902886 A US 4902886A US 29938289 A US29938289 A US 29938289A US 4902886 A US4902886 A US 4902886A
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noise
transfer switch
charge amplifier
signal
photodiode
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J. Daniel Smisko
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Agilent Technologies Inc
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HP Inc
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    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N5/00Details of television systems
    • H04N5/30Transforming light or analogous information into electric information
    • H04N5/335Transforming light or analogous information into electric information using solid-state image sensors [SSIS]
    • H04N5/357Noise processing, e.g. detecting, correcting, reducing or removing noise
    • H04N5/3575Noise processing, e.g. detecting, correcting, reducing or removing noise involving a correlated sampling function, e.g. correlated double or triple sampling
    • GPHYSICS
    • G11INFORMATION STORAGE
    • G11CSTATIC STORES
    • G11C7/00Arrangements for writing information into, or reading information out from, a digital store
    • G11C7/005Arrangements for writing information into, or reading information out from, a digital store with combined beam-and individual cell access
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H03BASIC ELECTRONIC CIRCUITRY
    • H03FAMPLIFIERS
    • H03F3/00Amplifiers with only discharge tubes or only semiconductor devices as amplifying elements
    • H03F3/04Amplifiers with only discharge tubes or only semiconductor devices as amplifying elements with semiconductor devices only
    • H03F3/08Amplifiers with only discharge tubes or only semiconductor devices as amplifying elements with semiconductor devices only controlled by light
    • H03F3/087Amplifiers with only discharge tubes or only semiconductor devices as amplifying elements with semiconductor devices only controlled by light with IC amplifier blocks
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H03BASIC ELECTRONIC CIRCUITRY
    • H03FAMPLIFIERS
    • H03F3/00Amplifiers with only discharge tubes or only semiconductor devices as amplifying elements
    • H03F3/70Charge amplifiers
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N5/00Details of television systems
    • H04N5/30Transforming light or analogous information into electric information
    • H04N5/335Transforming light or analogous information into electric information using solid-state image sensors [SSIS]
    • H04N5/357Noise processing, e.g. detecting, correcting, reducing or removing noise
    • H04N5/363Noise processing, e.g. detecting, correcting, reducing or removing noise applied to reset noise, e.g. KTC noise related to CMOS structures
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N5/00Details of television systems
    • H04N5/30Transforming light or analogous information into electric information
    • H04N5/335Transforming light or analogous information into electric information using solid-state image sensors [SSIS]
    • H04N5/369SSIS architecture; Circuitry associated therewith
    • H04N5/374Addressed sensors, e.g. MOS or CMOS sensors
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N5/00Details of television systems
    • H04N5/30Transforming light or analogous information into electric information
    • H04N5/335Transforming light or analogous information into electric information using solid-state image sensors [SSIS]
    • H04N5/369SSIS architecture; Circuitry associated therewith
    • H04N5/378Readout circuits, e.g. correlated double sampling [CDS] circuits, output amplifiers or A/D converters

Abstract

A method and apparatus for reducing noise in a light sensing circuit having a photodiode array coupled to a charge amplifier through a field effect transistor transfer switch. Thermal noise generated by the transfer switch is combined with image signals inputted to the charge amplifier resulting in an outputted noisy image signal. The invention eliminates this noise by taking two consecutive readings of the charge amplifier output, one before and one after closing the transfer switch and after opening it. The thermal noise generated by the transfer switch, and added to the next reading of the charge amplifier output, is equal to the difference between these two readings. Once stored, this difference can be subtracted from the previously mentioned "next reading", resulting in the elimination of this noise term.

Description

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

This invention relates generally to reducing noise in Photodiode Arrays (PDA), and in the preferred embodiment, to improving the performance of a spectrometer which uses a photodiode array detector. In such a spectrometer, light of different wavelengths is focused on different elements, or pixels, of the PDA. Each pixel consists of a photodiode and an associated storage capacitor which may be the junction capacitance of the photodiode or a physical capacitor incorporated into the PDA. The capacitor is charged to a reference voltage and then partially discharged as the photodiode conducts photo current in response to the light signal. A number of Field Effect Transistor (FET) transfer switches are coupled in series between each pixel and a charge amplifier. Each pixel may be read out in succession by sequentially turning on, therefore, closing, the associated transfer switch. This action also enables the amplifier to recharge the associated capacitor to the reference voltage. The amount of charge required to bring the capacitors up to the reference voltage is defined as the image signal charge and is proportional to the intensity of the light or image incident on the photodiode.

Sensitivity, a measurement of the minimum amount of the image signal or light signal that can be detected, is an important feature of spectrometers used in atomic emission detectors. To monitor the signal of interest, a PDA is used to convert optical emissions into an electronic signal. During operation, electronic noise generated by the PDA can obscure weak signals. The invention reduces this noise, and thereby improves the overall sensitivity of the spectrometer or other apparatus employing the invention.

FIG. 1 shows a conventional PDA 5 connected to a charge amplifier 20. One side of each photodiode capacitor pair is coupled to a common node 6. Serial readout of a charge voltage across each photodiode 13 in the PDA 5 is accomplished by means of a digital shift register (not shown) coupled to the transfer switches 16 (Q1 -Qn). Operation of this circuit is as follows:

1. After the previous readout cycle is completed, each pixel capacitor 14 (C1 -Cn) is charged to a reference voltage Vd. Such charging is carried out by the action of the operational amplifier 23 as the reference voltage is maintained between its non-inverting input and the common node of the photodiode array.

2. After the pixel capacitors 14 have been charged, the transfer switch 16 is opened, so that the photodiode 13 and pixel capacitor 14 are disconnected from the operational amplifier 23 for a specified period of time. An optical or light signal 8 is converted to an image signal by the associated photodiode and is integrated on pixel capacitors C1. . . Cn, thus discharging each capacitor by an amount of charge representative of the intensity of the optical or light signal 8. The amount of charge removed is defined as the "image signal charge". The term "image signal" is not meant to limit the meaning of "signal" to something corresponding to optical signals which are pictorial in nature. Rather, "image signal" denotes a signal which is a representation of, and is generally proportional to, the intensity of the light of the corresponding optical signal. This optical signal can be either pictorial, as in a camera, or spectral, as in a spectrometer, or of a different nature. The amount of charge removed is defined as the "image signal charge".

3. Transfer switches 16 (Q1 -Qn) are employed for successively recharging capacitors 14 (C1 -Cn) by transferring the image signal charge to the inverting input node 99 of the operational amplifier. The operational amplifier acts to keep the voltage on the inverting input node 99 equal to the voltage on the non-inverting input, by changing the voltage on the output node 97 until the input node 99 equals the voltage on the non-inverting input. In this circuit, the non-inverting input, and therefore the inverting input, are equal to ground. Thus, the inverting input is commonly referred to as virtual ground. At this point, all of the of the image signal charge is held on the feedback capacitor 22 (Cf), and none of it is stored on capacitor 24 (Ca), and the voltage at the output node 97 is proportional to the image signal charge. Each pixel may be successively read in this fashion. After reading each pixel, field effect transistor reset switch 21 (Qf) is closed to short out capacitor 22 (Cf), then opened to accept the charge from the next pixel.

4. Other circuitry (not shown) reads the value of the image charge signal and stores each reading in a computer memory for processing.

During the reset operation of the operational amplifier (step 3), the closed loop bandwidth of the integrator amplifier 23 is increased significantly. This results in increased noise charge fluctuations at the inverting input node 99. These fluctuations are due to the input voltage noise of the amplifier as well as thermal noise generated by the reset switch 21. At the instant the reset switch is opened, whatever noise voltage happens to be present on the inverting input node 99 is "frozen" on capacitor 22 (Cf).

One prior art technique for reducing this noise is called "correlated double sampling" and employs the analog subtraction circuit 25 shown in FIG. 2 and incorporated into FIG. 1. This circuit consists of a series capacitor 26 and a switch 27 that connects the output end of the capacitor to ground. Switch 27 is turned on just after the integrator amplifier 23 reset operation, and turned off just before the next pixel is connected to the integrator amplifier 23 input. This causes the sum of the amplifier input noise and the thermal noise charges to be stored on capacitor 26, thereby subtracting this term from the output signal. As illustrated in FIG. 1, this circuit is coupled to the output of the charge amplifier 20. However, such an analog subtract circuit is not required for the detection of light signals in a photodiode array, but it does enhance performance.

The FET transfer switch 16 (Q1) is another source of thermal noise. This noise is sometimes even greater than the reset switch noise. Unfortunately, the correlated double sampling subtraction technique does not address this problem and overall sensitivity of any device employing the PDA is impaired.

In particular, the switching action of the field effect transistor transfer switch in the integration-readout process causes a noise term, called "kTC" noise, to be unfortunately added to each photodiode measurement. This "kTC" noise is a type of thermal noise which is caused by random motion of electrons in some electronic devices, and Field Effect Transistors in particular, and is associated with resetting the photodiode capacitance to a fixed voltage. The term kTC stems from Boltzman's constant "k", the temperature "T" and the capacitance "C". In actuality, this thermal noise charge corresponds to the square root of k*T*C which is technically defined as the Root Mean Square (RMS) noise charge. However, this noise charge will hereinafter be identified as "kTC noise". When PDA's are operated at low light levels, this kTC noise is often the largest noise term. It is the purpose of this invention to eliminate this kTC noise.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, it is the object of the present invention to provide an improved method and apparatus for reducing signal noise in a PDA. By reducing this noise, smaller optical signals can be detected, thereby increasing the overall sensitivity of most types of apparatus which employ a PDA. A preferred embodiment of the present invention employs a microprocessor, coupled to a PDA and a low bandwidth charge amplifier, to control the switching of the PDA, which is coupled, through a FET transfer switch to the charge amplifier such that image signal charges and noise charges can be measured and stored for processing. In particular, the invention measures and stores kTC noise charges generated by the transfer switch. By taking two readings for each photodiode in the array, it is possible to isolate the kTC noise charge so that it can be subtracted from the image signal charge containing this noise term to obtain a true output image signal. In this disclosure, image signal denotes a signal which is a representation of, and is generally proportional to, the intensity of the light of the corresponding, optical signal. As noted before, this optical signal can be pictorial, as in a camera, spectral, as in a spectrometer or of a different nature.

The invention is the product of three discoveries which together provide for substantial noise reduction. The first discovery was the inventor's realization that the kTC noise charge generated by the transfer switch displaces itself evenly, but with opposite polarity, on the photodiode capacitor and the charge amplifier when the transfer switch is opened. Secondly, the inventor discovered a subtraction technique in which an error signal could be isolated and stored for later subtraction from an image charge signal also containing the unwanted noise, thus providing the desired error-free image charge signal. And thirdly, the inventor discovered that by using a low bandwidth amplifier, which does not respond to high frequency noise, it would be possible to take two image charge signal readings for each photodiode during each cycle of the PDA. The first reading includes both a first noise charge signal and an image charge signal, and the second reading includes both the first reading and a second noise charge signal. The first reading is made with the transfer switch is closed, and the second reading is made after the transfer switch is subsequently opened. During the first reading, the amplifier does not respond to the second noise charge signal as it is a high frequency AC signal while the switch is closed. Once the transfer switch is opened, this signal stops changing rapidly and the second reading is made. Therefore, the function of the low bandwidth amplifier is not only to reduce noise at the output, but is also used to enable the charge amplifier to respond to the noise signals so that they can be amplified, measured and subtracted.

These discoveries are all interrelated. In particular, the even distribution of the kTC noise charge provides for two measurements of this noise charge. However, it is through the use of the low bandwidth amplifier that the noise charge can be effectively distinguished and measured in the presence of an image signal.

In particular, the invention reduces noise in one light sensing circuit, which includes at least a parallel combination of a photodiode and a photodiode capacitor as a pair, or the equivalent thereto, coupled to a low bandwidth charge amplifier through a transfer switch. A series of noisy image signals, corresponding to an image signal representing the intensity of light incident on the photodiode and an unwanted noise signal, generated by the transfer switch, may be sequentially transferred to the charge amplifier by opening and closing the transfer switch. Such transferred signals may be measured and stored for further processing to eliminate the unwanted noise. Noise reduction may be accomplished by the following steps;

(1) measuring the charge amplifier output, a first time after closing the transfer switch and a second time after opening the transfer switch, the unwanted noise signal being displaced evenly, but of opposite polarity, on both sides of the open transfer switch,

(2) subtracting said first and second measurements, wherein the difference corresponds to said unwanted noise signal;

(3) storing the difference;

(4) resetting the charge amplifier to accept a new signal;

(5) transferring the noisy image signal next in the series of noisy image signals, and which contains the displaced unwanted noise signal of opposite polarity, to the charge amplifier;

(6) measuring the charge amplifier output;

(7) adding the stored difference to the transferred noisy image signal to eliminate the unwanted noise signal.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram of a known photodiode array coupled to a charge amplifier circuit.

FIG. 2 illustrates one prior art circuit for reducing noise using analog subtraction.

FIG. 3 is a schematic diagram of the invention.

FIG. 4 shows a high frequency model of the circuit illustrated in FIG. 1 for one photodiode.

FIG. 5 is a transfer switch and reset switch timing diagram illustrating signal charge values during the operation of the invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The present invention is disclosed in FIG. 3 and is utilized, in the preferred embodiment, in the input section for a spectrometer. In particular, incident light 108 is translated into an electronic measure readable by the microprocessor 100. The PDA 80 and the charge amplifier 85 operate in a manner similar to that disclosed in the Background of the Invention and illustrated in FIG. 1. A series of transfer switches 116 (Q1 -Qn) are employed for coupling each pixel of the PDA 80 to the charge amplifier 85. One side of each photodiode capacitor pair in the PDA 80 is coupled to a common node 106. A reference voltage Vd is also coupled to the circuit at this common node 106. Depending on the type of sensor in which the invention is employed, the reference voltage of the PDA may vary.

Unlike the prior device illustrated in FIG. 1, the invention employs a charge amplifier 85 having a very low bandwidth operational amplifier 123 to limit kTC noise associated with a closed transfer switch 116 while the image charge on the photodiode capacitor 114 is being measured, as well as being able to respond to the kTC noise associated with an opened transfer switch 116 while the noise charge is being measured. With the switch opened, the kTC noise charge appears as a slowly varying signal, something a low bandwidth amplifier can respond to, as opposed to a rapidly fluctuating AC signal. The bandwidth of the amplifier is made sufficiently low such that the time constant of the amplifier is much greater than the time constant RCs, where Cs is the series combination of the photodiode capacitor C1 and the total amplifier capacitance Ct which consists of the amplifier input capacitance and the capacitance of the feedback capacitor 122. The use of a low bandwidth amplifier provides for making two readings of each photodiode during each cycle of the PDA, and noise reduction through an inventive subtraction technique. In the preferred embodiment, an operational amplifier having a time constant of approximately 10 microseconds and a 3 dB point of 16 kilohertz was utilized. This time constant is more than five times greater than the product of the transfer switch resistance and the series combination of the total amplifier capacitance and the photodiode capacitance. Additionally, the amplifier time constant is less than one-fifth of the readout time for each photodiode element of the photodiode array.

The advantages of this invention stem from the recognition that the kTC noise charge generated by the transfer switch 116 (Q1) is displaced, upon opening of the transfer switch 116 (Q1), evenly (but with opposite polarity) upon the photodiode capacitor 114 (C1 -Cn) and upon the parallel combination of the feedback capacitor 122 (Cf) and the equivalent capacitor 124 (Ca) which represents the input capacitance of the charge amplifier 85 as well as the run capacitance of the PC board. This charge distribution, not previously appreciated in other photodiode array sampling devices, makes possible the elimination of this kTC noise.

The operation of the transfer switch and associated noise charge distribution is illustrated in FIG. 4 which depicts a high frequency model of the transfer switch 116 (Q1), the photodiode capacitor 72 (C1) and the total amplifier capacitance 78 (Ct) which is the parallel capacitance of the feedback capacitor 122 (Cf) and the equivalent capacitor 124 (Ca). The transfer switch 116 (Q1) of FIG. 4 is modeled as a noiseless resistor 74 (R), a resistor noise voltage source 76 (Vn), and an ideal switch 77. This model is only valid at frequencies above the unity gain point of the operational amplifier. At frequencies much greater than the unity gain point of the amplifier, the output of the amplifier remains at a constant voltage. In the preferred embodiment, the time constant of the charge amplifier is much greater than the RCs time constant composed of the product of the resistor 74 (R) and series capacitance Cs of capacitors 72 (C1) and 78 (Ct).

The following relationships are illustrated in this high frequency model: ##EQU1##

When the transfer switch 116 (shown in FIG. 3) is closed, i.e., ideal switch 77 (shown in FIG. 4) closed, the kTC noise charge is generated on capacitors 72 (C1) and 78 (Ct) by the voltage 76 (Vn). This noise charge is the same on both capacitors (but opposite polarity), regardless of the value of capacitors C1 and Ct. However, this kTC noise charge is not immediately seen at the output of the operational amplifier because the bandwidth of the amplifier is very low compared to the bandwidth of the noise.

When the transfer switch 116 (Q1) is opened, the feedback capacitor 122 (Cf) receives an additional noise charge. The noise charge stored on capacitor 78 (Ct), or equivalently on the inverting input node 198 (see FIG. 3) is transferred completely to the feedback capacitor 122 (Cf) by the action of the operational amplifier 123, so that an additional voltage proportional to the noise charge appears at the output node 197. The same noise charge is present (with opposite polarity) on the capacitor 114. This noise charge on capacitor 114 remains until the transfer switch 116 (Q1) is again closed. A reset switch 199, coupled across capacitor 122, is used for resetting the capacitor between measurements.

Looking again at FIG. 3, the preferred embodiment of the invention employs an analog subtract circuit 88 to reduce thermal switching noise generated by the reset switch 199. This circuit operates in the same manner as the circuit in FIG. 2 (which is disclosed in the Background of the Invention). It should be noted that an analog subtract circuit is not required, and without it, the output of the charge amplifier could be coupled directly to an A/D converter 90. In the preferred embodiment, the A/D converter 90 is employed to convert the analog subtract circuit 88 output signal 91 to a digital form. The microprocessor 100 controls the

FET transfer switches 116 and the reset switch 199 (Qf) in order to perform kTC noise cancellation on the output signal. The following steps describe the operation of one photodiode 110 for one measurement cycle. It is understood that in actual operation, the same steps are performed on each of the photodiodes in the array in exactly the same way, so that a continuous cycling of measurements may be made. The preferred embodiment of the invention is illustrated in the following inventive steps:

1. Transfer switch 116 (Q1) is opened from the previous reading, and an old kTC noise charge, defined as "First Noise", is stored on capacitor 114 (C1).

2. Incident light 108 (striking photodiode 110) causes a signal charge defined as "First Signal", to accumulate on capacitor 114 (C1), until the transfer switch 116 (Q1) is re-closed (in step 3).

2.5 While the transfer switch 116 (Q1) is still open, the reset switch 199 is momentarily closed, shorting out the feedback capacitor 122 (Cf).

3.0 Transfer switch 116 (Q1) is closed, transferring First Signal and First Noise to the inverting input node 198.

3.1 First Signal and First Noise are transferred to capacitor 122 (Cf) by the action of the operational amplifier 123. This changes the voltage on the output node 197 to a value defined as "First Voltage", which is proportional to the sum of First Signal and First Noise. The action of the operational amplifier also returns the inverting input node 198 to the virtual ground.

3.2 First Voltage is now measured and recorded.

4.0 Transfer switch 116 (Q1) is now opened. This step corresponds to step 1, but for the next measurement cycle. Another kTC noise charge defined as "Second Noise", which had been fluctuating, stops fluctuating and appears as a constant charge on capacitor 114 (C1). At the same time, a charge having the same value, but of opposite polarity as Second Noise appears as a constant charge on the inverting input node 198.

4.1 After a short period Second Noise, by the action of the operational amplifier 123, appears as a change in the voltage at the output node 197. This output voltage is defined as "Second Voltage" and is proportional to the sum of First Signal, First Noise and the negative of Second Noise. By action of the operational amplifier 123, the voltage on the inverting input node 198 is now equal to virtual ground.

4.2 Second Voltage is now measured and recorded.

4.3 A Third Noise is derived as the combination of Second Voltage minus First Voltage.

5. While the transfer switch 116 (Q1) is open (from steps 4 through 6) the incident light 108 causes a signal charge defined as "Second Signal" to accumulate on capacitor 114 (C1).

5.5 While the transfer switch 116 (Q1) is still open, the reset switch 199 is momentarily closed, shorting out the feedback capacitor 122 (Cf).

6. Transfer switch 116 (Q1) is now closed transferring Second Signal and Second Noise to the inverting input node 198.

6.1 Second Signal and Second Noise are converted into a new voltage defined as "Third Voltage" at the output node 197, by the same process occurring in step 3.1.

6.2 Third Voltage is now measured and recorded.

7.0 The noise free image signal is now constructed by adding Third Noise and Third Voltage.

These steps may be better understood by referencing the transfer switch and the reset switch timing diagram of FIG. 5. These diagrams include reference numbers corresponding to the steps outlined above.

In the preferred embodiment of the invention, the sensitivity of a spectrometer is enhanced. However, the invention has many other applications where kTC noise reduction is required. For example, optical character recognition circuits, CCD imagers, image sensors and broadcast cameras. Changes and modification of the invention, as set forth in the specifically described embodiments, can be carried out without departing from the scope of the invention which is intended to be limited only by the scope of the appended claims.

Claims (7)

I claim:
1. A method for reducing noise in the output of a light sensing circuit, said circuit comprising at least one photodiode having a photodiode capacitance related thereto, coupled to a low bandwidth charge amplifier through a transfer switch, wherein a series of noisy image signals, each comprising an image signal representing the intensity of light incident on said photodiode and an unwanted noise signal, are transferred to said charge amplifier by opening and closing said transfer switch, said method comprising the steps of:
measuring the charge amplifier output, a first time after closing said transfer switch and a second time after opening said transfer switch, said unwanted noise signal being displaced evenly, but of opposite polarity, on both sides of said open transfer switch,
subtracting said first and second measurements, wherein the difference corresponds to said unwanted noise signal;
storing said difference;
resetting said charge amplifier to accept a new signal;
transferring the noisy image signal next in the series of noisy image signals, and which contains the displaced unwanted noise signal of opposite polarity, to said charge amplifier;
measuring the charge amplifier output;
adding said stored difference to said transferred noisy image signal to eliminate the unwanted noise signal.
2. A method for reducing noise in the output of a light sensing circuit, said circuit comprising at least one photodiode and photodiode capacitor pair coupled to a low bandwidth charge amplifier, having a capacitor feedback, through a transfer switch, wherein, a series of noisy image signals each comprising an image signal representing the intensity of light incident on said photodiode and an unwanted noise signal are transferred to said charge amplifier, said method comprising the steps of:
(1) storing, on said photodiode capacitor, a first image signal and a first noise signal;
(2). resetting said charge amplifier capacitor;
(3) transferring said first image signal and said first noise signal to said charge amplifier by closing said transfer switch;
(4) measuring, at said charge amplifier output while said transfer switch is closed, a first noisy image signal comprising the first image signal transferred to said charge amplifier and the first noise signal;
(5) opening said transfer switch, to begin storing a second image signal and a second noise signal on said photodiode capacitor and to establish on the charge amplifier a third noise signal of equal but of opposite polarity to the second noise signal, said third noise signal combining with said signals already present on the charge amplifier;
(6) measuring, while said transfer switch is open a second noisy image signal at said charge amplifier output, comprising the combination of the image signal transferred to the charge amplifier, the first noise signal and the third noise signal;
(7) subtracting said first noisy image signal from said second noisy image signal, the difference being the third noise signal;
(8) storing said third noise signal;
(9) resetting said charge amplifier capacitor;
(10) transferring said second image signal and said second noise signal to said charge amplifier by closing said transfer switch;
(11) measuring, at said charge amplifier output, said second image signal and said second noise signal;
(12) adding said stored third noise signal, said second image signal and second noise signal to produce the second image signal.
3. An apparatus for reducing noise in a light sensing circuit, said circuit comprising at least one photodiode and capacitor in combination, coupled to a charge amplifier through a transfer switch, wherein, at least a first and a second image signal, corresponding to the intensity of light incident on said photodiode, are first stored on said photodiode capacitor on a first side of said transfer switch, and then sequentially transferred to said charge amplifier, on a second side of said transfer switch, with unwanted noise signal charges each time said switch is closed, said charge amplifier generating output signals proportional to said transferred signals, said apparatus for reducing noise comprising;
a low bandwidth amplifier which only responds to said noise signal charge when said transfer switch is open;
a memory for storing output signals from said charge amplifier, said charge amplifier outputting signals in response to image and noise signals transferred from said combination of said photodiode and said capacitor;
means for closing and opening said transfer switch to provide for the transferring, measuring and storing of said image and noise signals such that two readings of said photodiode may be made for each of said image signals, wherein, said noise may be reduced in said second image signal by isolating a first noise signal corresponding to said first transferred image signal and subtracting it from said second transferred image signal which contains a second noise signal, said noise signals canceling each other as, upon opening said transfer switch, they dispose themselves evenly, but of opposite polarity, on said first and second side of said transfer switch, thus combining with the corresponding first and second image signals which are temporarily stored on either side of said transfer switch.
4. The apparatus as claimed in claim 3, wherein said low bandwidth amplifier has a time constant which is much greater than the time constant of the series combination of the total amplifier capacitance and the photodiode capacitance.
5. The apparatus as claimed in claim 4, wherein said low bandwidth amplifier has a time constant of approximately 10 microseconds.
6. The apparatus as claimed in claim 3, wherein said low bandwidth amplifier has a time constant greater than five times the time constant of the series combination of the total amplifier capacitance, the photodiode capacitance and the transfer switch resistance.
7. The apparatus as claimed in claim 3 wherein said low bandwidth amplifier has a time constant less than one-fifth of the readout time for each photodiode in the photodiode array.
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US5060070A (en) * 1989-05-25 1991-10-22 Nippon Hoso Kyokai Solid state image sensor having low and high level signal component detectors
US5280358A (en) * 1989-06-14 1994-01-18 Canon Kabushiki Kaisha Photoelectric converting apparatus having an analog memory
US5107103A (en) * 1990-01-26 1992-04-21 Carnegie-Mellon University Integrated circuit having at least a sensor and a processor thereon
US5317407A (en) * 1991-03-11 1994-05-31 General Electric Company Fixed-pattern noise correction circuitry for solid-state imager
US5311319A (en) * 1991-03-27 1994-05-10 Kabushiki Kaisha Toshiba Solid state image pickup device having feedback voltage to amplifier
DE4228299A1 (en) * 1992-08-26 1994-03-10 Beilschmidt Gerald Dipl Ing CCD sensor array control and read-out system - pre-amplifies and filters sensor signals before A/D conversion.
US5652425A (en) * 1994-11-08 1997-07-29 Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd. Photoelectric conversion module with noise compensation
US5604347A (en) * 1995-07-13 1997-02-18 General Electric Company Method and means for compensating for row variable offsets in a large area solid state x-ray detector
US5844238A (en) * 1996-03-27 1998-12-01 David Sarnoff Research Center, Inc. Infrared imager using room temperature capacitance sensor
US6249001B1 (en) 1996-03-27 2001-06-19 Sarnoff Corporation Infrared imager using room temperature capacitance sensor
US5838176A (en) * 1996-07-11 1998-11-17 Foveonics, Inc. Correlated double sampling circuit
US6097432A (en) * 1996-07-11 2000-08-01 Synaptics, Inc. Sense amplifier for high-density imaging array
US5742047A (en) * 1996-10-01 1998-04-21 Xerox Corporation Highly uniform five volt CMOS image photodiode sensor array with improved contrast ratio and dynamic range
US5834765A (en) * 1997-07-08 1998-11-10 Ledalite Architectural Products, Inc. Integral ambient light and occupancy sensor having a linear array of sensor element and a segmented slit aperture device
US5981932A (en) * 1997-11-05 1999-11-09 Stmicroelectronics, Inc. Noise compensation circuit for image sensors
US6233012B1 (en) * 1997-11-05 2001-05-15 Stmicroelectronics, Inc. Parasitic capacitance reduction for passive charge read-out
EP0915616A1 (en) * 1997-11-05 1999-05-12 STMicroelectronics, Inc. Noise compensation circuit for image sensors
US20020029122A1 (en) * 1999-04-27 2002-03-07 Hamamatsu Photonics K.K. Photo-detecting apparatus
US6757627B2 (en) * 1999-04-27 2004-06-29 Hamamatsu Photonics K.K. Photo-detecting apparatus
US6593563B2 (en) * 2000-05-25 2003-07-15 Sick Ag Opto-electronic sensor array and a method to operate an opto-electronic sensor array
US20060126054A1 (en) * 2000-05-26 2006-06-15 Minolta Co., Ltd. Three-dimensional measurement device and three-dimensional measurement method
US6392233B1 (en) 2000-08-10 2002-05-21 Sarnoff Corporation Optomechanical radiant energy detector
US6940551B2 (en) 2000-09-25 2005-09-06 Foveon, Inc. Active pixel sensor with noise cancellation
EP1219934A1 (en) 2000-11-28 2002-07-03 SGS-THOMSON MICROELECTRONICS S.r.l. Method of reading a capacitive sensor and related integrated circuit
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US7755683B2 (en) * 2000-11-28 2010-07-13 Stmicroelectronics Srl Method of reading a capacitive sensor and related integrated circuit
US6904784B2 (en) * 2001-02-27 2005-06-14 Teledyne Isco, Inc. Liquid chromatographic method and system
US20020134143A1 (en) * 2001-02-27 2002-09-26 Isco, Inc. Liquid chromatographic method and system
US7173230B2 (en) * 2001-09-05 2007-02-06 Canesta, Inc. Electromagnetic wave detection arrangement with capacitive feedback
US20030042406A1 (en) * 2001-09-05 2003-03-06 Edoardo Charbon Electromagnetic wave detection arrangement with improved performance and reproducibility
US20030164443A1 (en) * 2002-02-01 2003-09-04 Stmicroelectronics Ltd Image sensor
US6952004B2 (en) * 2002-02-01 2005-10-04 Stmicroelectronics Ltd. Image sensor with capacitive amplifier and associated methods
US6765189B1 (en) * 2002-11-20 2004-07-20 Santec U.S.A. Corporation Small form factor in-line switched multichannel fiber optic power monitoring apparatus
US7612815B2 (en) * 2002-12-16 2009-11-03 Hamamatsu Photonics K.K. Optical sensor
US20060231748A1 (en) * 2002-12-16 2006-10-19 Yasuhiro Suzuki Optical sensor
US20060227229A1 (en) * 2002-12-16 2006-10-12 Yasuhiro Suzuki Optical sensor
US7612814B2 (en) * 2002-12-16 2009-11-03 Hamamatsu Photonics K.K. Optical sensor
US7692704B2 (en) * 2003-12-25 2010-04-06 Canon Kabushiki Kaisha Imaging apparatus for processing noise signal and photoelectric conversion signal
US20050146617A1 (en) * 2003-12-25 2005-07-07 Canon Kabushiki Kaisha Imaging apparatus for processing noise signal and photoelectric conversion signal
US20100141818A1 (en) * 2005-04-21 2010-06-10 Canon Kabushiki Kaisha Solid state image pickup device and camera
US8243190B2 (en) 2005-04-21 2012-08-14 Canon Kabushiki Kaisha Solid state image pickup device and camera with focus detection using level shifting
US20090315850A1 (en) * 2006-05-02 2009-12-24 Steven Porter Hotelling Multipoint Touch Surface Controller
US20090315851A1 (en) * 2006-05-02 2009-12-24 Hotelling Steven P Multipoint Touch Surface Controller
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US8279180B2 (en) 2006-05-02 2012-10-02 Apple Inc. Multipoint touch surface controller
US8816984B2 (en) 2006-05-02 2014-08-26 Apple Inc. Multipoint touch surface controller
US9262029B2 (en) 2006-05-02 2016-02-16 Apple Inc. Multipoint touch surface controller
US20110169768A1 (en) * 2008-07-08 2011-07-14 Kenichi Matsushima Electrostatic detection device, information apparatus, and electrostatic detection method
US10413251B2 (en) 2012-10-07 2019-09-17 Rhythm Diagnostic Systems, Inc. Wearable cardiac monitor
US10244949B2 (en) 2012-10-07 2019-04-02 Rhythm Diagnostic Systems, Inc. Health monitoring systems and methods
USD850626S1 (en) 2013-03-15 2019-06-04 Rhythm Diagnostic Systems, Inc. Health monitoring apparatuses
EP2981069A1 (en) * 2014-07-31 2016-02-03 Canon Kabushiki Kaisha Photoelectric conversion apparatus and photoelectric conversion system
US10091444B2 (en) 2014-07-31 2018-10-02 Canon Kabushiki Kaisha Photoelectric conversion apparatus and photoelectric conversion system
CN105323509B (en) * 2014-07-31 2019-02-26 佳能株式会社 Photoelectric conversion device and photo-translating system
CN105323509A (en) * 2014-07-31 2016-02-10 佳能株式会社 Photoelectric conversion apparatus and photoelectric conversion system
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EP0379671B1 (en) 1993-09-01

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